Experts Discuss Ransomware, Risk, and Recovery at #MACoCon

A panel of state and local cybersecurity experts explained why updating outdated technology platforms is vital for reducing cybersecurity risks, enhancing service delivery, and boosting government transparency and accountability.

Legacy systems — outdated digital software or hardware — may meet the needs they were initially implemented for but cannot adapt or grow with new requirements and needs. As such, legacy systems are generally unable to interact with any newer systems or implement necessary cybersecurity measures to safeguard critical data and sensitive information.

At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, the MACo Information Technology Affiliate hosted a session to highlight best practices for the State and county governments to consider as they move away from costly, insecure, and unreliable technology and instead adapt and innovate to keep data secure.

Anne Arundel County Council Member Allison Pickard led the conversation and moderated a lengthy and informative Q&A at the “Ransomware, Risk, and Recovery: Is Your County Cyber-Secure?” session.

The expert panel included:

  • Mark Ripper, Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology Services, Carroll County
  • Rob O’Connor, Chief Information Officer, Baltimore County
  • Stefanos Ghebrehawariat, Assistant Secretary, Maryland Dept of Information Technology

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ripper kicked off the panel by detailing new and evolving cyber threats aimed at state and local governments — and explained why legacy systems present unique cybersecurity challenges. In addition, he shared tips for counties to balance functionality with cybersecurity.

In addition to discussing the funding challenges with updating legacy systems, O’Connor detailed the hidden dangers of legacy systems and explained why a collaborative approach is critical for updating/upgrading outdated/vulnerable systems.

Assistant Secretary Ghebrehawariat shared the pros and cons of upgrading vs. modernizing legacy systems, as well as best practices for counties to determine which option is best.

The session was held on December 8, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Maryland.

More about MACo’s Winter Conference: